The 4C’s- and I’m Not Talking About Diamonds

The beautiful thing about life is we have the ability to choose how we want to live it. Whether you realize it or not, you are completely in charge of the decisions you make.

There are many aspects of my life which are unconventional, and perhaps even misunderstood by others. As I tossed and turned in bed last night, thinking about a brief conversation I had about going car-free, I pulled out my phone and started to take notes.

Reflecting on what is “expected” versus living a life that best suits my values has elevated an immense amount of stress and anxiety, not to mention has bonded me even tighter with others who feel the same. From living minimally to standing firm in my choices, my life has completely changed for the better since embracing a few principles.

I used to do a lot of work with diamond companies and jewelry designers, so the 4C’s are something I used to write about often. I may not be a woman who dreams of the day she will get an engagement ring (I gave back a 1.51 princess cut diamond in 2008 when I decided to move to San Francisco), but my own 4C’s of life quality- instead of diamond quality- are important details that shape my life today.

Car-Free

“Car-free has gone from something where it’s for people that can’t afford a car to people who can afford not to have a car,” Ryan Johnson, founder of Culdesac, told me. As the first car-free neighborhood in the United States, Ryan is starting with Tempe, an area of Arizona which relies heavily on driving. Created to encourage residents to walk, enjoy experiences in their community, and connect with one another, Culdesac is a concept I’ve been living for the past six years- even though there are cars all around me.

Making a conscious choice not to drive came easily after spending the past six years living in New York and Boston. I loved walking the city, taking pictures wherever I went, and embracing the sights all around me. Public transportation is something I began to enjoy- not dread. Whether it was looking out the window in a cab, reading on the train, or listening to music while I waited for the bus, I used my time well as I commuted, a drastic difference from sitting in traffic and feeling my blood boil.

I’m sure one day I will drive again, but for now, I can afford not to- and I’m a lot healthier, more eco-conscious, and financially responsible as a result. I wonder how much money I spent on gas in the past, driving aimlessly to alleviate my anxiety. Today, I opt to walk to cure stress- and it works a whole lot better.

Clutter-Free

I used to love “stuff.” My closets were filled to the max, I pushed things under the bed, and I forgot what I even owned. This of all changed when I left NYC in 2016, moved back to Michigan for the summer, and later took a one-way flight to Boston (when this blog began!) with three bags. Everything I needed was transportable via car (Uber, specifically), making my move a piece of cake.

I started over completely when I moved back to Michigan this past October, now living in a townhouse with my cat. With an empty apartment and a few bags full of clothes, my mom and I set out to decorate my place with a minimalist aesthetic with functional details.

Everything has a place and purpose- with the clean colors and pops of red, green, and gold sprinkled throughout the house, I can easily move something from one room to the other and it fits in anywhere. I don’t own anything for the sake of owning it, and my closet only consists of items I wear.

Cocktail-Free

I first got sober in 2011- but didn’t stay that way. Apparently, I hadn’t had enough “yets;” those destructive and life-shattering events which make people say “I need to stop.” You see, even though my mental health was deteriorating and my relationships, finances, and dignity suffered, I hadn’t been through enough.

It’s a pretty twisted way to think about it- who wants to keep drinking just so they can experience the hospital multiple times, months in detoxes, far-off rehabs, or living with 20 other sober people? Well, I’ve officially done it all. That’s the thing about addiction- you never think these things will happen to you. The voices in your head tell you you’re okay; that nothing bad could happen.

Well, it did- and it all made me so much more appreciative of everything I have today. Would I go have a drink to “fit in” or shut someone up as I did nine (or even three) years ago ago? Absolutely not. I don’t have to get into the nitty gritty with people I just meet, dates, or acquaintances, but if they want the truth, I’m happy to share what it was like to physically detox for weeks, not be able to eat or walk, and be stuck in a hospital.

I’m good on the cocktails, thanks, but feel free. My own sobriety isn’t something I would ever want to push on someone else- but it’s a choice that has given me the opportunity for a brand new and much better life.

Child-Free

I’m not here to offend anyone who is a parent- but making the decision not to have children is a big part of my life. At 35, it’s important for me to be transparent with others about my wishes.

Having a family is expected for people. Nevertheless, the idea of family gives me anxiety. I love my mother, aunts, uncles, and cousins, but I don’t know if I am fit to step outside of myself and care for another human. I’m a lot to take care of. I would never want to neglect or affect someone else because of my own preoccupation- which is also why I’ve been single for half a decade.

Call me selfish, but I call it self aware.

Children give people a sense of purpose, and it’s wonderful to see friends of mine parent some amazing human beings. I look up to them, but instead of being a parent myself, I see myself as a mentor or teacher, not a mother. Writing alone gives me a sense of purpose. I share some of my most personal and intimate details of my life, so I would say that’s a little bit of a sacrifice, right?

Opening up to people about my mental health, life choices, sobriety, and self-acceptance helps me to better understand myself as well as benefiting others through my own experiences. If there is one life I can touch, my writing here has served its purpose.

Finding peace, purpose, and passion may not lie in what the world tells you is best for you- that’s something you need to find within yourself.

We All Need Connection

Last night I full-out cried while I was watching the ending rain scene of Breakfast at Tiffany’s. As in, a hard long cry.

I thought about my old life, living without attachment, just getting by in both New York and Boston. It was in Massachusetts when I learned to finally let people in- and made the decision to come home after three years.

I’ve compared myself to Holly often, familiar with her feelings of not knowing where she belonged in the world or who she even was. I lived with the “mean reds,” aimlessly wandering from city to city or window to window, gazing inside wondering when I would feel safe and secure.

In the end, she finally realizes she does need people (and Cat) in her life, which is what just wrecked me. 😭😭 Hugging my Ollie extra tight (even if he hates it), making sure my friends know I love them, and spending quality time with my family while I can. We never know where the road will lead us, but if we look at the world with an open heart, the path is much more beautiful than we could have ever expected.

You Don’t Have to Navigate the New Decade Alone

With a blank page, cup of coffee, and an open heart, I’m thrilled to welcome 2020.

It’s a new year, new decade, and if you want, it can be a whole new you.

A more confident you. A more peaceful you. A you who you love, no matter what.

As I reflect on this past decade, I’ve thought a lot about what I could have done differently. I reflected on how my mistakes lead me on unexpected paths, how my struggles made me stronger, and how I had to learn the hard way “wherever you go, there you are.”

When 2010 began, I wish I would have had someone to talk to. Not a therapist, who would listen and give me clinical advice. I did that. Not a friend, who would give me their biased opinion. I already had a handful of feedback. Not my parents, who would give me sensible advice for my well-being. I wasn’t always willing to listen.

As I began a new decade at 25 years old, I wasn’t sure where I was going in life, what I wanted, or who I was as a woman. Through trial and error, it took me the next ten years to truly know what I wanted- thanks to guidance, a spiritual practice, and my writing.

Over the past three years I’ve written about my day-to-day experiences, built a solid foundation within my spirituality, and have helped to guide other women through their journey of life. As 2020 begins, I’m committed to sharing their stories of strength, expanding my knowledge and experience within holistic health, and continuing to fearlessly write.

I’ve dabbled in outlining programs to empower women, but then wondered, “what makes me qualified to do this?” My own blockage of self confidence prevented me from putting myself out there. I questioned how valuable my insight was. I wondered if anyone would listen to what I had to say.

Those were simply self-limiting beliefs- beliefs we all tell ourselves at one point or another.

Since I overcame this fear, I know I can help others, too. Whether you’re debating whether or not to move across the country, quit your job, start a blog, or get into a new relationship, trust me- I have been there.

Through making my own mistakes, overcoming challenges, and healing my heart, I can’t think of anything I would rather do than continue to inspire others through my own insight and experiences.

I’m offering online sessions to outline your vision for the New Year, your life, and your goals- not just what you thought you wanted- but we will uncover what you really desire.

Think of me as a part of your team; someone you can talk to, email, or just run your day by. I will encourage you to step out of your comfort zone, help you learn to sit still, and become your own best friend and biggest supporter.

We’ll write, meditate, talk, and dream. Nothing is out of reach when you set your mind to it- and my own story is proof of that. You’ll not only learn to inspire yourself, but you’ll start to naturally inspire others. We are living in a world that desperately needs our light, and I will help yours shine.

Are you ready to do this, 2020? I know I am!

Send me a note and learn more: kristinfehrman@gmail.com